Depression: Home Remedies & Adjunct Treatments
While these are clinically proven and commonly used adjunct treatment options for depression, this information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
Exercise is listed first because it is the most important. Dozens of clinical reviews have determined that exercise can be equally as effective as psychotherapy or medication in the treatment of depression (Bloomenthal, Smith, and Hoffman, 2013). Patients who exercised and received traditional depression treatment often saw the best results.
Eating too much junkfood can increase the likelihood of experiencing depression symptoms. Healthy diets are associated with lower levels of depression. Check out this list of foods from WebMd to learn more.
Our minds and bodies need rest to reset. Not getting enough sleep raises our anxiety levels and causes us to stay in "fight or flight" mode. For adults, about 7-8 hours of sleep each night is recommended for best mental health benefits.
Self-Care looks different for everyone. Doing things we simply enjoy raises our dopamine levels and makes us feel good. Having a self-care routine takes it a step further. By taking consistent care of ourselves, we reinforce the idea that we are important, valuable beings. As a result, people who practice self-care often have high self-esteem and self-confidence. Check out Family & Youth's Self-Care page to learn even more.
Sunlight triggers the release of dopamine. We're wired to have increased dopamine levels during the day (when its time to work, hunt, or gather to survive). At night our serotonin levels increase. The increased serotonin helps to feel calm and prepared for sleep. That's our natural rhythm. Humans were not evolved to be inside all day. Not getting enough sunlight can induce depression for many people. This is why Northern US states have the highest rates of Seasonal Depression; they have shorter days and longer nights than in the South. If getting sunlight isn't an option, there are artificial light boxes that can mimic the sun. Light boxes can have side-effects, so speak with a health care professional to determine if this therapy is an appropriate adjunct treatment for you.
Several over-the-counter supplements can be used to help fight depression. If we want our bodies to maintain optimal balances of Dopamine, Serotonin, GABA, Glutamate, and other important neurotransmitters, then we need to make sure our bodies have the raw materials necessary to make those neurotransmitters. Supplements that can help fight depression include: Kava, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B, and Vitamin D. To learn more, check out: https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/herbs-vitamins-supplements#vitamin-b